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The Morning Bell: 60 years since the 'Little Rock Nine'

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In September 1957, a white student passes through the Arkansas National Guard line as Elizabeth Eckford, one of the Little Rock Nine, is turned away. Later that month, President Dwight Eisenhower sent in U.S. Army troops, and they led Eckford and eight other black students into Central High School. PHOTO BY WILL COUNTS / ARKANSAS DEMOCRAT-GAZETTE
In September 1957, a white student passes through the Arkansas National Guard line as Elizabeth Eckford, one of the Little Rock Nine, is turned away. Later that month, President Dwight Eisenhower sent in U.S. Army troops, and they led Eckford and eight other black students into Central High School. PHOTO BY WILL COUNTS / ARKANSAS DEMOCRAT-GAZETTE

As desegregation rippled from school-to-school across much of the American south in 1957, Central High School in Little Rock became an iconic moment in the civil rights movement, immortalizing nine black students who simply wanted to attend a school that had been restricted to just white students.

One of those black students was Carlotta Walls LaNier, who at age 14 faced state troopers and an angry mob determined to keep her out.

But she never reconsidered her decision to attend Central High School.

"There weren't any doubts," LaNier told The Oklahoman. "In fact, it got competitive to the point where I know you don't want me here but I'm determined. I have a right to be here and I'm going to do my best. Quitting was not an option."

This week I wrote about the "Little Rock Nine" and a generation of school desegregation across the country and in Oklahoma. I also took a look at how some segregation patterns in Oklahoma City schools mirror that of the pre-busing era. 

--SAME PATH FOR OKC SCHOOLS?: In a column for NonDoc, education writer John Thompson wrote that a recent meeting of the Oklahoma City Public School board showed what is right and what is misguided about today’s policies.

"The most important issues raised at the meeting concerned what it will take to meet the challenge of new state tests that raise the bar in terms of college-readiness instruction," Thompson wrote. "Although district presenters made some good points, the administration seems basically on the same dubious path that undermines 21st-century teaching and learning."

--DISCIPLINE PROBLEMS: While OKCPS looks to respond to continued low academic performance in many of its schools, the district's teachers say discipline remains a major problem. About 80 percent of district teachers who responded to a union survey said they are responsible for administering the majority of student discipline, while nearly half said they have a student with a chronic discipline problem who should not be in their classroom, reports Tim Willert in The Oklahoman

--HIGHER ED NEWS - The OU Daily took a look at the 17 people who will select the University of Oklahoma's next president. "Major university donors, a first generation college graduate, several doctors and a dean are all part of the 17-person search committee that will identify candidates for the next OU president," writes Hannah Pike for the campus newspaper. 

--PANHANDLING TEACHER: Teresa Danks, a third grade teacher for Tulsa Public Schools who became known for panhandling, is now helping other educators, reports KFOR

--A Lawton Public Schools bond election is just two weeks away. Totaling $99.5 million, part will be used to build a new Eisenhower Middle School, which has several structural problems. Another $53.5 million will be spread out for projects at every school in Lawton, reports KSWO

--OKCPS ATTORNEY LEAVING: The top attorney for Oklahoma City Public Schools, Brandon Carey, 39, told The Oklahoman he accepted a job with the Oklahoma State School Boards Association, which provides training and information services to 513 school districts and 29 career technology centers.

Related Photos
In September 1957, a white student passes through the Arkansas National Guard line as Elizabeth Eckford, one of the Little Rock Nine, is turned away. Later that month, President Dwight Eisenhower sent in U.S. Army troops, and they led Eckford and eight other black students into Central High School. PHOTO BY WILL COUNTS / ARKANSAS DEMOCRAT-GAZETTE

In September 1957, a white student passes through the Arkansas National Guard line as Elizabeth Eckford, one of the Little Rock Nine, is turned away. Later that month, President Dwight Eisenhower sent in U.S. Army troops, and they led Eckford and eight other black students into Central High...

<figure><img src="//cdn2.newsok.biz/cache/r960-039e7280d246a0cb6b28537319c5d49e.jpg" alt="Photo - In September 1957, a white student passes through the Arkansas National Guard line as Elizabeth Eckford, one of the Little Rock Nine, is turned away. Later that month, President Dwight Eisenhower sent in U.S. Army troops, and they led Eckford and eight other black students into Central High School. PHOTO BY WILL COUNTS / ARKANSAS DEMOCRAT-GAZETTE" title="In September 1957, a white student passes through the Arkansas National Guard line as Elizabeth Eckford, one of the Little Rock Nine, is turned away. Later that month, President Dwight Eisenhower sent in U.S. Army troops, and they led Eckford and eight other black students into Central High School. PHOTO BY WILL COUNTS / ARKANSAS DEMOCRAT-GAZETTE"><figcaption>In September 1957, a white student passes through the Arkansas National Guard line as Elizabeth Eckford, one of the Little Rock Nine, is turned away. Later that month, President Dwight Eisenhower sent in U.S. Army troops, and they led Eckford and eight other black students into Central High School. PHOTO BY WILL COUNTS / ARKANSAS DEMOCRAT-GAZETTE</figcaption></figure>
Ben Felder

Ben Felder is an investigative reporter for The Oklahoman. A native of Kansas City, Ben has lived in Oklahoma City since 2010 and covered politics, education and local government for the Oklahoma Gazette before joining The Oklahoman in 2016.... Read more ›

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